Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ABC's Feminist Disconnect Agent Carter-The Bachelor

Television is a wasteland. How much of it is schlock script writing and lazy producers and how much is the need to shove pure ideology through the screen? There has been a crop of political shows come out recently that are all garbage, yet couldn't the networks or even AMC run a limited series with some snappy writing and a period setting to avoid messing with moderns? That might be too much work, and doesn't push the "Vote for the lady" message. Advertisements do not need "They Live" sunglasses for decoding anymore. ABC spent the holiday sports season pushing promos for two upcoming shows: Agent Carter and the nineteenth season of The Bachelor. The products target the same audience, yet despite a stale premise and the lameness of reality tv, The Bachelor will pull in more viewers than Agent Carter. This has to frustrate the ideologues in Disney's creative development department, but let's look at the two shows.

First up to bat is the new series on the dame who is fighting tough and wicked smart!
Agent Carter is set in 1946. It is about a secretary to Tony Stark's dad who must be normal secretary during the day and then butt kicking secret agent at night. I'm a bit confused by this working woman in the 1940s thing as the feminists told me that they were the ones who fought for women to be able to work in the '60s. Is she just the brains of spy operations? Nope. The promos show her in her 1940s clothes acting like the standard Joss Whedon heroine. "Oh man, don't you just want to watch an anorexic actress knocking out 200 pound henchmen?" It's like the other 10 chick cop shows on television right now but set in the '40s. Still not biting? No, only 6.9 million viewers tuned in despite heavy promotion.  Viewership dropped nearly 2 million in week two. Well jeez, that stinks as Disney paid good money for Marvel's intellectual properties.
What might women be tuning into in higher numbers despite a stale premise? Everything that the lesbian feminists will say is wrong with cishet culture.
The Bachelor pits 30 women age 21 to 33 all pining for the one handsome, successful men to select them at the end for a committed relationship. Each episode pits them against one another in little competitions and date set ups with the one man. Through the wonders of editing, there are classic characters like "the good girl", "the vamp", "the goofy one", "the shy one", "the psycho", "the cute but low self esteem girl", and sometimes the very special "psycho-vamp". Some of these women even leave their kid or kids behind for months to participate on the show. People watch for the first two episodes to see the big fights and cut downs, then leave for a while only to come back in the final few episodes for the "meet the family" episodes and the tough cuts. All regular viewers tune in for the finale and the "After the Rose" episode to see them all snipe at one another like catty women. This stale reality series in it's umpteenth iteration tops 10 million viewers regularly with some seasons seeing 15-20 million viewers for the finale.

ABC ran promos for Agent Carter during The Bachelor premiere. Those ideological wizards in charge of Disney just do not know when to quit. No one but nerdy men and SJWs want to see a skinny, pretty actress beating up giant henchmen. If you're going to give us a fighting woman, at least cast one that weighs over 110 pounds. It needs to be believable that their shoulders wouldn't pop out of joint if they fired a gun. People do not want this crap. Look at the ratings. The mega-promoted single mom cop show "Mysteries of Laura" is getting ratings lower than The Bachelor. The special sauce is that even if married, even if single, all women want to see the good one rewarded and the bad girl be tossed aside. Double points if the bad girl has implants. The vamp has to have her lies proven false and sent home. The final girl chosen has to be pretty but not too pretty. The handsome, successful guy has to pick a good one for that golden ticket: the chance to opt out. This is an easy formula that ABC duplicates over and over for heavily edited, semi-scripted reality television. If networks want to go back to scoring ratings over ideology, give the ladies what they want. Let them get that rose.


Suburban_elk said...

Through the wonders of editing, there are classic characters like "the good girl", "the vamp", "the goofy one", "the shy one", "the psycho", "the cute but low self esteem girl", and sometimes the very special "psycho-vamp".

Those characters, those women; they sound appealing in their one-dimensional state.

It is interesting though that such character roles as those described above do form how people see themselves and each other, and how they think of themselves, and how they act, and who they are.

With each passing day i am less and less inclined to view people as having agency or free-will, or whatever it is called. Everyone is dramatizing from the roles that are available to them, and that is the best they can do, is to dramatize one of those roles.

And for the haters out there, those wannabe masculine try-hards, please note: stoicism is just another role, just another act, just another dramatization.

Magus Janus said...

I don't know that I'd agree that TV is a wasteland at the moment. Certainly there's tons of crap on TV, don't get me wrong, but that's always been the case. I think what's happened is better viewer discrimination, so the crap is more craptastic than ever (reality tv, etc.) and the good stuff is separate.

In olden days you had more of a mix of crap and some nuggets of gold, now it's just 99.9% pure crap and 99.9% pure gold (aesthetically, ideologically still very problematic).

I recently finished:


and have watched a fair amount of those shows. I tend to agree with the premise that we are living through a golden age of television and the fulfillment (via serialization, better writing, higher budgets for costumes/technology) of what the medium is capable of.

Game of Thrones, Wire, Breaking Bad, Sopranos, Deadwood, Battlestar Galactica (despite the crap end), etc.

Heck, look at Rome on HBO, one of my favorite shows. It's incredible.

On basic tv though, I wholeheartedly agree. All (or almost all) crap. Because we're not the audience.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Outside of a few fantastic series since The Sopranos changed everything, tv is awful. I have seen Golden Age essays on current tv and a weird wrinkle is that tax deals allow for cheaper production to spend more $ elsewhere and take chances. The flip sideto the Golden Age argument is, as a lover of comedy, comedy is comatose or dead on tv. NBC was so loaded for yers that their 2nd tier shows are superior to comedy today.

PA said...

Meh on Elk's philosophy of free will.

But not meh on his comment at Sailer's, about how a heretical heroic movie about a white kid in diversilandia is needed.

There are three movies I can think of that broke with the dominant orthodoxy and had a cathartic emotional effect due to the pent up demand for the story to not just be told, but also freely shared:

Man of Iron (1981) in Poland. My parents told me that people were crying in the theater.

Platoon. This was the watershed film in giving Vietnam vets their belated recognition.

The Passion of the Christ.

ARoss said...

There are only 2 shows that I've been actively following lately Archer and Suits. Other than that I don't follow any current shows.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Aross - How did that redhead on suits not get roles before 35? Fine, very striking looking. Her breasts should get a starring credit.

ARoss said...

I have no idea though she's done bit work since '98.

27 said...

Sherm, plz turn the spotlight on The Rover, re: take a break from the Doom and Mencius-Diff.Country; great film, you touch well on similar. Re., request.

Son of Brock Landers said...

27 - I try to talk sports,movies or women once a week to break the gloom so prevalent on other rightist blogs. This week will turn into TV-Movie week. Is The Rover on Netflix or Amazon streaming?

Magus Janus said...

"tv is awful."

I'd say the Golden Age arguments are relative to the medium, as in right now TV is in a Golden Age in my eyes as the quality of the good productions is far ahead of anything in the past.

Take a cursory look at pre-2000s Emmy Primetime nominees relative to today. No comparison:


The medium has changed and for the way better, with more talented acting, writing, production quality, themes, etc.

"comedy is comatose or dead on tv. "

Regarding comedy I think you have more of a point in that it is less broadly dependent on production quality and more specific to writing itself. The sitcom as a medium has sort of reached a plateau; HIMYM was pretty damn good from seasons 2-4 for "Generic Friends-like sitcom", and Seinfeld explored the limits of the genre in the 90s from contemporary progressive urban (jew) standpoint.

I don't know that previous comedies were that much better though... maybe Married With Children in 80s as examining plight of blue-collar man left behind by de-industrialization and feminism, and of course more "traditional" comedies from years past like I Love Lucy, though a more simplistic brand of comedy for a more simple time I think.

But we have also seen the development of a new genre of comedy with the pseudo-documentary of The Office and derivatives: Parks and Rec, Modern Family (ideologically abominable but pretty funny), and so on.

SIlicon Valley by Judge on HBO is hilarious in my eyes in the more traditional pure non-laughtrack comedy.

But above all it is in cartoons that we see the really biting satire: Southpark and to a lesser degree Rick and Morty, Family guy, etc. As they can get away (like the Fool in the court) with more than a live action show can. Southpark is at times incredible. Some criticize it for its vulgarity which I think is silly... Aristophanes was obsessed with scatological humor and Billy Shakespeare with horns/cuckolding and puns. Comes with the turf.

And of course we've seen the explosion of standup in the post Chris Rock era from early 2000s to now to the point that that specific genre is a little tired now as well having exhausted a lot of its immediate potential.

So I'm not sure I agree with the notion that comedy is dead right now. Maybe if you limit it specifically to "sit coms on prime tv" maybe it's not as good as 10 or 20 years ago, but even that is likely somewhat debateable in my eyes.

mikestreetstation said...

Agent Carter, in spite of being set in the multi-billion dollar world of the Marvel Universe, is just a meh show. The problem is that the premise of the miniseries; who is trying to frame Tony Stark's dad; is uninteresting. However I do enjoy the period costuming and period mores, such as no men allowed ladies apartments.

As far the 90 pound butt kicking heroine, taking down 200 plus pound guys, it's been such a trope of TV and Movies for a generation that I hardly notice it anymore. Unfortunately a generation of this has real world consequences as society tries to integrate females in combat jobs in the military.

After 29 tries and 29 failures at trying to get a woman through the Marine Corps Infantry officer school, maybe Agent Carter actress Haley Atwell should give it a try and show them how it's done.